- South Africans hold the Guptas responsible for a lot of the corruption in the country and government
- But, residents in their home town in India has nothing but good things to say about the most hated family in South Africa
- According to Rani Bazaar locals, the Guptas had done nothing wrong and all accusations against them were false
It is no secret South Africans strongly dislike the Gupta family, some even border hating them. But, to locals at the Rani Bazaar area of Saharanpur in India, the controversial brothers are regarded heroes.
The Rani Bazaar residents’ praise for the Guptas followed Mohammed Ali writing an article for the Hindu Times about the house the brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, reportedly grew up in.
If you look at the picture of the dilapidated home, it looks nothing like their mansion in Saxonwold and it is clear the Guptas have come a long way since their ‘humble’ beginnings. It’s just too bad they did it by looting billions from South Africans.
According to Ali’s article, although South Africans grew hostile towards the Guptas, the Rani Bazaar locals continued to tell “inspiring stories” about the overnight success of the brothers.
Javed Sabri, a Gupta family friend, said the brothers were the “best thing” to happen to Saharanpur.
Sabri, a man in his 40s, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh were inspired by their father Shiv Kumar Gupta, who started a small-time company supplying the city with soapstone powder.
Briefly.co.za learned the brothers grew up in the “by-lanes” of the small town, and they got their education for the local JV Jain college.
All brothers completed their respective fields of study, with Ajay obtaining a BCom degree before completing a Chartered Accountancy course. Both Atul and Rajesh finished a BSc qualification, with Atul also doing a course in computer hardware and assembly.
“Shiv Kumar Gupta was a visionary. So even when his sons, after their education, established a company in Delhi that imported spices from Madagascar and Zanzibar, he kept on telling them to dream big and go to uncharted territories with immense business possibilities. So in 1993 the brothers moved to Johannesburg,” said Sabri, who is well-known in the community for his ties with the family.
The Citizen reported Sabri told Ali during the week, where the ANC were deliberating on recalling Zuma, Ajay and Atul were at a Mahashivratri procession, an annual Hindu festival celebrating the god of Shiva, in Rani Bazaar.
However, according to Sabri, the both brothers attended the festival on Tuesday and left the same day.
The family friend added the brothers were not concerned with the unfolding situation in South Africa at the time, because there was no wrongdoing on their part.
“There was no worry on their faces. Because they have done no wrong. They have a base in Dehradun where they live but they keep coming here and are in touch with their family and friends,” Sabri added.
Aside from Sabri’s praise for the Guptas, Ali wrote the other residents also defended the family by giving “testimonies to their hard work”.
One relative, Asutosh Agarwal, rubbished the accusations against the Gupta brothers, saying the claims were completely false.
“It was only a pressure tactic to make Zuma resign,” Agarwal added.
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